NLT Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition - Flipbook - Page 24
2 Sam 7:14
John 1:34; 20:31
exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
“Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied.
47 As they approached, J
esus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of
48“How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.”
49Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!”
50Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under
the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” 51Then he said, “I tell you the truth,
you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of
Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.*”
1:51 Greek going up and down on the Son of Man; see Gen 28:10-17. “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for
CERTAIN PEOPLE are refreshingly direct,
and they help others around them think clearly.
Such was the friend Philip tracked down after
he began to follow Jesus—a devout Jew from
Cana named Nathanael (also known as Bartholomew). Their exchange regarding the identity of
Jesus gives a helpful glimpse at the practical and cautious faith of the men Jesus called as his
disciples. They believed but not easily.
Philip knew he had news for Nathanael. They shared a common interest in anticipating the longawaited Messiah of Israel. But Nathanael didn’t immediately accept Philip’s glowing endorsement
of Jesus as the one they were expecting. In Nathanael’s view, Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth made
any claim about him suspect. Undaunted, Philip invited Nathanael to “come and see” (John 1:46).
Ultimately, our experience with Jesus may catch others’ attention, but genuine faith will only
rise in them as they discover Jesus themselves. Our task is to make the introduction. Jesus has
his own ways of connecting with those he came to save.
When the doubtful Nathanael approached Jesus, he was greeted with a compliment. Jesus
recognized his integrity, and Nathanael felt known. Not only did Nathanael acknowledge and
respond to Jesus as the one he had been waiting for, but he also realized that Jesus had actually
been waiting to meet him. Countless men and women have been drawn to Jesus when they
finally discovered that he was already seeking them—that he already knew them. Perhaps this
has also been true for you.
Nathanael (Jesus’ Disciple)
• Skeptical but honest in making decisions
• One of God’s people anticipating the Messiah
• Shared the misunderstandings of the other disciples about Jesus
• One of Jesus’ original 12 disciples
• Honest questions come from a heart and mind that sincerely want to know the truth.
• God knows us intimately long before we meet him.
• Where: Cana
• Contemporaries: Jesus, John the Baptist, Philip and the other disciples
“As they approached, Jesus said, ‘Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete
integrity.’” (John 1:47)
Nathanael’s story is told in the Gospels, especially in John 1:43-51; 21:1-2. He is listed among the disciples as Bartholomew in
Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14; Acts 1:13.
1:46 When Nathanael heard that the Messiah was from Nazareth,
he was surprised. No prophet had ever mentioned Nazareth in association with the Messiah, and it was a place with a questionable
reputation. Philip responded, “Come and see for yourself.” Fortunately
for Nathanael, he went to meet Jesus and became a disciple. If he had
stuck to his preconceived ideas without investigating further, he would
have missed the Messiah! Don’t let people’s stereotypes about Jesus
cause them to miss his power and love. Invite them to come and see
who Jesus really is.
1:47-49 Jesus knew about Nathanael before the two ever met. Jesus
also knows what each of us is really like. An honest person will feel
comfortable with the thought that Jesus knows him or her through
and through. A dishonest person will feel uncomfortable. You can’t
pretend to be something you’re not. God knows the real you and wants
you to follow him.
1:51 This is a reference to Jacob’s dream recorded in Genesis 28:12.
As the unique G
od-man, Jesus would be the ladder between heaven
and earth. Jesus was not saying that they would see the ladder with
their eyes, like some of them would see the Transfiguration; he was
saying that they would have spiritual insight into Jesus’ true nature and
purpose for coming. The disciples understood this prediction better
after Jesus’ resurrection.